Author Archive: Adam Zak
My name is Adam Zak. I help companies recruit truly exceptional Lean leaders.
I had been doing retained executive search work for a number of years when I decided to break out on my own and create Adams & Associates International in 1990. Working for a few years with a couple of the very largest search firms had convinced me that I could add significantly more value and provide infinitely better service and quality to my clients from a smaller and more focused and responsive platform. Plus, even as a big-firm partner, I had never really felt much like my own boss. That changed when my name – today Adam Zak Executive Search – went on the door.
One of my colleagues from across the Pond, James Marsh at Sheffield Hallam University, is currently researching his PhD exploring Lean Six Sigma and its environmental benefits and/or tradeoffs. For his thesis, James is analyzing the key differences among different industry sectors and departmental functions, and he would like to connect with the widest cross-section of global companies possible – the more data, the better for his research project.
From now through early November weâ€šÃ„Ã´re on the road again, meetinâ€šÃ„Ã´ and greetinâ€šÃ„Ã´ our Lean colleagues from around the country.
“Respect for people: Very few businesses start up only on the backs of the sole founder. It takes a team.” Jamie Flinchbaugh
Earlier this week, Jamie blogged about the Lean Entrepreneur. With layoffs mounting at even the Leanest Thinking companies, he argued that this might be just the time for “lean-minded” individuals to strike out on their own and start new businesses. In fact, some quick research I did indicates that 16 of the 30 DJIA (Dow Jones index) corporations were launched during past recessions, among them Microsoft, Hewlett-Packard, and Walt Disney, for example. Jamie makes a persuasive point.
As a LeanThinker I am most unabashedly a free market advocate. Free trade, absolutely. Love those imported fresh Mexican tomatoes in my sandwich on a freezing January day. Open skies, no question. I look forward to when I can fly Singapore Air from Chicago to LAX, experiencing the same outrageously great service they provide on some of my international trips. And Brazilian, ethanol – bring it on over! Let’s keep Illinois corn here in the Midwest where it belongs, fattening up that great-tasting Midwestern beef I’ll be having for dinner tonight.
I’ve been writing quite a bit lately about why respect for people, often vividly demonstrated when your team members are truly engaged in their day-to-day work, is critical to building and sustaining the Lean Enterprise. And you’d have to live on another planet not to notice the plethora of business books and articles discussing the importance of developing a positive organizational culture at work. The research is clear. Positive leaders, positive work environments, and positive engaged employees produce positive results.
With apologies to the Mammas and the Pappas… If I really hate Mondays, will it kill me?
Last Friday, on the 4th of July, Mark Graban blogged away about an article he’d seen in London regarding the myth of “Monday morning blues”. Mark noted that this article “reminded me of comments I’ve heard our good friend Norman Bodek make a few times recently.” According to Mark (I’ve heard this first-hand from Norman as well) “Norman tells a story about how he always asks audiences what day of the week they like best. People hardly ever say Monday, their favorite day of the week is usually Friday. Norman says that’s sad, as people should be able to enjoy their work, that Monday shouldn’t be such a dreaded day.”